A survey of neurologists on bothersome patient behaviors

Randolph W. Evans, Rochelle E. Evans, Richard I. Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Context: Although much has been published on patient complaints about physicians, little is known about patient behaviors that physician's find bothersome. Objective: To obtain more information about bothersome patient behaviors, we performed a pilot survey of neurologists. Methods: A survey was performed among neurologists attending the Texas Neurological Society Winter Conference in 2006 in Austin, Texas. Using 5-point Likert scales, respondents rated 30 patient behaviors on how often they observed or experienced the behavior in the last year and how bothersome the behavior was to them. Respondents were asked to list their top 5 most bothersome patient behaviors, provide examples of unnecessary phone calls received after hours, and provide any other comments about the survey. Results: The response rate was 42.3% (78 respondents). Almost all of the patient behaviors were found to be bothersome or very bothersome. The top 5 most bothersome patient behaviors from most to least were the following: no show for appointment, verbally abusive with your staff, poor compliance with medications or treatment, late for appointment, and do not know the medications that they are taking. Of the 30 items, those behaviors as well as answering cell phones during office visits and unnecessary phone calls after hours were among the most highly rated as bothersome. Conclusions: Some of the bothersome patient behaviors may have deleterious effects on patient care, whereas others may make the practice of medicine unpleasant for physicians. A number of the behaviors may be reduced by providing patients with practice policies. Others are best addressed through ongoing communication and education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number35
JournalMedGenMed Medscape General Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 27 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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